It's A Power Play For Midwest Builders
Energy projects scattered throughout the heartland battle it out with Chicagoland projects for keeping designers and contractors busy
Every year, ENR Midwest is honored to rank the region’s largest projects that started construction during the previous calendar year. Again in 2015, the greater Chicago market stirred the pot, earning 16 of the spots among the top 50, including four in the top 10. Of Chicagoland’s Sweet 16, seven projects are in suburban Illinois and Indiana communities, while nine are in the city of Chicago proper.
Click Here to View the 2015 Top Starts in the Midwest
“Chicago’s a great city to do work in. There’s always something going on,” says Robert Chmielowski, principal with structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA). “It’s unique. The architecture is bold, and there is some really fun engineering work happening. We’re just happy to be a part of it.”
Among MKA’s current projects is the $500-million 150 North Riverside Office Tower, the No. 1-ranked Chicago project on the list. It is tied for No. 3 overall, and is the lone non-energy project in the top five for 2015. Leading the way is the behemoth Carrollton Electric Power Plant in eastern Ohio valued at $800 million, followed by the Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Power Station in central Indiana at $600 million. The Middletown Energy Center Power Plant in southwest Ohio is valued at $500 million, followed closely by the Enbridge Pipeline running from Pontiac, Ill., to the Chicago south-side suburb of Griffith, Ind., valued at $495 million.
While considered strong, project values are down compared with the previous year. For instance, the No. 5 project for 2015 is valued at $495 million, compared with $600 million the previous year’s No. 5. Likewise, the current No. 10, the McCormick Place Marriott Marquis Hotel in Chicago, is valued at $350 million, which is $50 million less than the same-ranked project for 2014. By No. 25, the values are close to level; the 2015 entry, a mixed-use development at Michigan State University in East Lansing, is valued at $157 million, which is just $3 million shy of the No. 25 project for 2014.
For 2015, three projects in Minnesota, including the No. 11-ranked Odell Wind Farm, have joined those from Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan in our final top 50. As is traditional, Illinois and Ohio lead the way, with 16 and 11 projects, respectively.
So, what’s ahead for Chicago? “The senior housing and skilled nursing markets have had remarkable growth over the past two years,” says Henry Hill, CEO of Lenox Hill Construction, “with potential for sustained growth over the next several years.”
As always, we can’t wait to find out.
To compile the annual list, our editors use multiple sources to confirm the information listed, including the comprehensive Dodge database published by Dodge Data & Analytics.